It’s true. We’re definitely still alive here in increasingly chilly Wheaton. It’s great fun actually having a fall this year, and the weather has been just really great since about the beginning of September or so (with the exception of a week or two here and there). Lately we’ve had a run of grey, rainy skies, which have made me very happy. They make the yellow and red leaves on the trees look ever so much better.
I really should begin writing more again. After all, I don’t want to forget how! I’m very bad at middles. I have a great deal of half-finished drafts collecting dust in the queue because I get half-way through and then can’t decide how to finish them. I should try to get out of that habit. I managed to get through the middle of my thesis (and that was quite difficult–I rearranged chapters and broke things up several times before I was happy!), so I’m sure that the middle of a blog post shouldn’t be too difficult… right?
Anyways, yes, still alive; not dead yet, all that. I even have an idea for what to do next, so stay tuned!
Well, I didn’t realise just how long it’d been since I last posted… Last year ended up being quite busy. Quite excellent, but busy.
At the end of May, both my husband and I graduated. I successfully defended my thesis on British Particular Baptists and their views on religious liberty in the 17th century and so was able to graduate with my M.A. in Historical Theology, while my husband graduated with his M.Div. Pretty much right after graduation (the Monday after) we returned to NorCal, which is where we’ll be until the end of July.
We did go to Switzerland for a couple of weeks in June — I got to introduce my husband to all my Swiss relatives (who unanimously loved him) and show off the amazing wonderful-ness of my “ancestral” lands (they’re not really all that far removed since my mom is the one who emigrated). We stayed in a little village called Aeschi bei Spiez about 20 or so minutes away from Thun and 30 or so minutes away from Interlaken in the other direction. The region is known as the Berner Oberland, and it is absolutely amazing. Gorgeous green hills nestled under mountains that are wonderfully close (without being too close). Wonderful wide open spaces everywhere you look. Cow bells ringing nearly all around you as the cows munch their grass… Really the perfect spot to wipe away all the stresses of living in a San Diego county metro area for the last three years.
By now we are largely recovered from jet lag, which is nice, and we’re setting our sights forward, to what is coming next. My husband has taken an internship position at Bethel OPC in Wheaton, IL. We’re both excited about the opportunity, even if we’re sad to leave family so far behind. We’re also pretty excited about making the move into the OPC from our current position in the PCA. We have a rough arrival date of the last weekend in July right now, but that might end up being adjusted.
It’s strange imagining life in a few months without papers and exams before me. I deeply loved my time at Westminster. I think it will be years before I can fully recognize the impact that my professors had on me. But papers and exams do get tiring after a while. This is my first time properly out of school and I’m looking forward to the adventures that we’ll be having.
From “The Holy Spirit” by Sinclair Ferguson (pp. 48-49) –
It has been commonplace to interpret Jesus’ temptations as analagous to, almost a model for, the tempting of the Christian: Christ was tempted as we are, but resisted; therefore, we should resist in similar ways. But this leads to a partial and negative interpretation of his experiences. His temptations constitute an epochal event. They are not merely personal, but cosmic. They constitute the tempting of the last Adam. True, there is a common bond between his temptations and ours: he is really and personally confronted by dark powers. But the significance of the event does not lie in the ways in which his temptations are like ours, but in the particularity and uniqueness of his experiences. He was driven into the wilderness as an assault force, His testing was set in the context of a holy war in which he entered the enemy’s domain, absorbed his attacks and sent him into retreat (Mt. 4:11, and especially Lk. 4:13). In the power of the Spirit, Jesus advanced as the divine warrior, the God of battles who fights on behalf of his people and for their salvation (cf. Ex. 15:3; Ps. 98:1). His triumph demonstrated that ‘the kingdom of God is near’ and that the messianic conflict had begun.
I’m sitting here on my couch writing this entry on the eve of the first day of my last year of seminary (Lord willing). As I’m writing this, my husband of a week and a-half is sitting on the floor taking a break from his reading for one of his classes tomorrow morning. Life looks very different now from when I started at Westminster. I came into seminary not at all looking for a husband — which is not to say that I didn’t hope to find one, merely that I didn’t come in with that as a goal! My goal in pursuing my M.A. was to prepare for a Ph.D. program with the eventual goal of teaching at the college level someday.
Not so any more.
These days, my plans in life are a little more subdued. I’m looking forward to finishing my thesis and graduating, then spending some time figuring out how to be a wife without the comfortable and very familiar academic setting before (dv) becoming a mother. Maybe someday, if the circumstances and the timing is right, I can continue on with my academic studies and get a Ph.D. Maybe I can even write something someday. But for now, my priorities lie in being a wife.
I know there are people out there who think that this renders my efforts in getting my M.A. quite wasted. Time and money and effort and sleep(!) spent in pursuit of a degree that has a real chance of never being used in a professional capacity, is, to them, a waste of resources. Others would say that my degree does nothing to prepare me for being a wife and mother, and, therefore, the money and time spent in getting it is a waste.
And yet, I would argue that in no way is it a wasted effort.
(I’m not just saying that because I’m graduating married, either!)
By the end of all of this I will have gotten to spend three years at a wonderful little seminary. I’ll have had a good chunk of the systematic courses taught by the ever organised and brilliant Dr. VanDrunen (including the most excellent Christian Life and Holy Spirit courses). I’ll have learned all about Aimee Semple McPherson and the quirks of American evangelicalism from the ever cheerful Dr. Godfrey, our excellent president. I’ll have learned about the seeds of Protestantism in the Ancient and Medieval church from the incomparable Dr. Clark. I’ll have been thoroughly mystified by modern philosophy only to discover that I actually did manage to learn quite a lot from Dr. Horton. Dr. Baugh and Professor Kim will have managed to impart in me an appreciation for Greek (even though the grammar and morphology are weird compared to Latin), and Dr. Estelle and Professor Van Ee will have given me a lasting love of Hebrew and Aramaic.
And all of this can be used well beyond any professional uses for an M.A. My husband and I have every intention that our children end up like their mother – largely useless at modern languages but able to know what’s going on with the dead ones. (Though I do have ambitions that they’ll end up a bit more like their father — good with the live and the dead ones!) Dr. VanDrunen’s Christian Life class is priceless for its teachings not only in how to think about ethics, but in how to appreciate nuances in ethics — and that’s not even including the ever-excellent bits on two kingdoms that he included. Dr. Clark’s Medieval & Reformation Church class will always be one of our favourite classes — both for what was learned about the medieval church and for what was learned about the modern church.
Who in their right of mind would call all of that a waste?
Just a note to say that I added my Sacraments paper to my Papers page – “Falsely Called Anabaptists”: The Particular Baptist Doctrine of Baptism
It’s no great secret that I am not overly fond of the location of our dearly beloved seminary. Westminster has the misfortune to be located in Escondido, which, for this NorCalian, is an unfortunate city — too many people who make entirely too many dreadful drivers, the weather is straight out of Jude 12 and 2 Peter 2:17, and there is a distinct lack of open spaces. (There is a reason I was determined to never, ever go to grad school in SoCal – Providence said otherwise, though.)
I should note – Westminster is actually an excellent example of the quality of a school overcoming its location.
Lord willing, though, I’m in Escondido for only a relatively short time. It’s not in any way, shape, or form home for me even though I spend at least 9 months out of every 12 there.
In other words, it’s quite the temporary situation, and that reminded me that the Church, too, is in a temporary situation. Christians are pilgrims in this world. Like the exiles from Judah in Babylon, we live, we marry, we have children, and so on and so forth. We live our lives quietly, working for the best of our society so that we may live peacefully. But, in the end, we are still sojourners and exiles, and that’s good to remember.